Course Title: Law of torts

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: LAW5183

Course Title: Law of torts

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact: Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Alana Ryan



Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

Course Description

The purpose of this module is to provide a detailed knowledge and skills in the Law of Torts as might be relevant for a person engaged in the operation of a legal office, or associated fields in the public or corporate sectors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20107 Law of torts



Performance Criteria:


Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse the term “tort”, determine those affected by the law of tort and assess the aims and rationale behind the law of tort.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Determine and specify the nature and meaning of the term tort.
1.2 Examine the historic origins of tort law.
1.3 Distinguish tort from crime, breach of contract, trust or other obligations.
1.4 Examine the nature of the interests protected by the law of torts.
1.5 Analyse the aims and rationale of the law of tort and discuss the need for statutory intervention.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse the elements of negligence, determine possible defences to a negligence action and examine damages recoverable in a negligence action
Assessment criteria
2.1 Define the term negligence and analyse its concepts.
2.2 Examine possible defences to a negligence action.
2.3 Evaluate means of proving negligence including burden of proof, standard of proof, the use of expert evidence and application of the res ipsa loquitur concept.
2.4 Examine the nature of damages that may be obtained in a negligence action.
2.5 Analyse legislative limits on negligence actions including thresholds, limitation periods and reduced liability in defined circumstances

Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse issues relating to particular categories of negligence.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Define and specify the principles of occupier’s liability. Examine and evaluate the provisions of the occupier’s liability provisions of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).
3.2 Examine the circumstances in which there can be liability for negligent misstatement causing economic loss.
3.3 Analyse the principle of vicarious liability.
3.4 Specify the circumstances in which there can be liability for negligently inflicted purely psychological harm in the absence of physical injury.
3.5 Identify the legal principles relating to liability for harm caused by defective products including the provision of Part VA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth).

Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse principles of strict liability.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Determine the principles of strict liability.
4.2 Compare strict liability with fault based liability.
4.3 Analyse the available defences to a strict liability claim.
4.4 Consider, as an example, liability for animals under the Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994 (Vic).

Learning Outcome 5 - Analyse and evaluate the various no-fault compensation schemes currently operating in Victoria and the Commonwealth.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Explore the history and basis of the statutory schemes.
5.2 Analyse the no-fault scheme regarding injury arising from a transport accident.
5.3 Evaluate and specify the current compensation schemes for employment related injuries or diseases, both in Victoria and the Commonwealth.
5.4 Identify when common law remedies remain available in transport and employment related situations.
5.5 Evaluate the problems arising from the statutory schemes and investigate the advantages and disadvantages of the schemes.

Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse the law relating to the intentional tort of trespass to the person.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Define the term assault and identify its elements in tort law.
6.2 Define the nature of battery and identify its elements in tort law.
6.3 Define false imprisonment and identify its elements in tort law.
6.4 Identify the elements of intentionally causing harm in tort law.
6.5 Evaluate the possible defences to trespass to the person.

Learning Outcome 7 - Analyse the elements of torts designed to protect interests in land.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Examine the elements of and defences to the intentional tort of trespass to land.
7.2 Analyse the tort of private nuisance and distinguish from the tort of public nuisance.
7.3 Identify the remedies available for interference with interests in land.

Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse and assess intentional torts relating to interference with interests in goods.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Differentiate between the elements of the torts of trespass to goods, conversion and detinue and identify the respects in which these torts overlap.
8.2 Examine the nature of the remedies available to a successful plaintiff in trespass to goods, conversion and detinue.

Learning Outcome 9 - Analyse, evaluate and specify the elements of defamation, analyse the possible defences to a defamation action and developments in relation to protection of privacy.
Assessment criteria
9.1 Analyse the relevant principles of defamation law.
9.2 Evaluate and define the elements of defamation.
9.3 Identify and outline the defences to a defamation action at common law and in legislation.
9.4 Determine the possible remedies to a defamation action:
       • Types of damages
       • Injunction
       • Impact of an apology and offers to make amends
9.5 Examine the developments in relation to the protection of privacy.

Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning experiences are planned for this course including workshop and online activities, group problem solving and group debates.

Note: Group activities are subject to class size. if class numbers are very small, then it may be impractical to conduct group activities.

Teaching Schedule

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

• Program overview and requirements
• MyRMIT/Blackboard
• Overview of assessment requirements
• Pre-Training Review including:
  o Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
  o Assessment of current skills and knowledge
• Competency/Grading Criteria
• Plagiarism
• Appeals
• Extensions
• Feedback
• Privacy
• Submission requirements
• Resubmission policy
• Where to get support
• Student responsibilities
The nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.


Delivery schedule

There is no weekly teaching schedule for delivery of course content as the purpose of this offering is to provide you with the necessary support required to assist you to satisfactorily complete the required assessments.

This is a course offering designed for ‘repeating students’ (i.e. those students who have previously enrolled in this course, but who have not satisfactorily completed all of the assessment requirements for this course). It is not intended that the course content be re-taught (or taught for the first time) and so the course will comprise a series of scheduled, facilitated workshops (if enrolment numbers are sufficient) or, where enrolment numbers don’t warrant the use of workshops, a mentoring system whereby you will engage with your course teacher at a mutually agreed time to receive the same kind of support that might otherwise have been provided in a facilitated workshop.

At any rate, the focus of the workshops or mentoring arrangements is the preparation for, and undertaking of, whatever assessments are need to complete the requirements of this course.


(1) Your class teacher will confirm the schedule of workshops (where applicable).

(2) If you have enrolled in this course with the belief or understanding that you would receive regular, classroom content teaching, then you are advised to withdraw from this course prior to census date, unless you now wish to accept the proposed mode of delivery for repeating classes as described earlier in this section.


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Barron Margaret Fundamentals of Business Law (McGraw Hill, 7 ed 2012)

Davis, Julia Connecting with Torts Law (Oxford) 2011


Mendelson, Danuta The New Law of Torts 2nd edition (Oxford)
Davies + Malkin, Torts 6th ed ( Butterworths Tutorial Series)
McGlone + Stickley Australian Torts Law 2nd ed –– Butterworths 2008

Other Resources

It is recommended that you have access to a mobile computing device to allow greater flexibility in terms of where you can work on campus outside class times.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks, and may include:

•  written tests
•  class discussion
•  case study analysis
•  assignments

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.

Assessment Tasks

To pass this course, you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.

To demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evidence is required:

• examine the origin, nature, aims and rationale of Tort Law
• analyse Tort Law in all its forms, both historical and contemporary, and as it applies to and is delivered by Australian courts today
• research and analyse precedent in Tort Law to arrive at an effective courtroom strategy
• analyse the statutory instances of Tort Law


Assessment Task 1 - Case Study Assignment (see “Assignments” on myRMIT Studies) where you are asked a series of questions relating to a case or cases concerning assault, battery, wrongful imprisonment and damages, being topics covered in the classes in weeks 2 and 3 (Learning outcome 6) (worth 20% of total mark)

The purpose of this assessment is to test learning outcomes 1 and 6 and give you experience of reading relevant cases on topics you are studying and to look for important matters relevant to studying any decided cases

Due Date: Week 4
Submission Procedure:  Hand in typed hard copy to your teacher at start of class week 4

Assessment Task 2 - Test (worth 30% of total mark)

The purpose of this assessment is to test learning outcomes 6,7,8,9 

Due Date:  Week 9
Submission Procedure: In class supervised open book test (1 hr and 40 min, plus 15 min reading time)

Assessment Task 3 - Final Test (worth 50% of total mark)

The purpose of this assessment is to test learning outcomes 2,3,4,5.

Due Date: week 16.
Submission Procedure: In class supervised open book test (2 hr, plus 15 min reading time)


Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions.  You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed.  Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.

Assessment Matrix

Marking Guide:

Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100HDHigh Distinction
DNSDNSDid Not Submit for assessment




Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:
• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date:
   • If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for extensions of time. (Please refer to the information in the Late Submission Procedure section below)
   • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (hard copy and soft copy).
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration
and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for
assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for
assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on
• Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment,
unit code and title and page numbers.

Late Submission Procedures

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
  More Information:
  Form to use:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information:;ID=g43abm17hc9w (unresolved)
Form to use:

Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment.  For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information:;ID=kehn9bz22r41 (unresolved)

Course Overview: Access Course Overview